Game 82, Orioles at Mariners

marc w · July 3, 2016 at 12:40 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 1:10pm

When the M’s are successful, there’s a natural tendency to see the results as an expression of the great changes brought about by the new front office, but it’s kind of funny when you look at *how* they’ve succeeded. Zduriencik was rightly criticized for what seemed like a fixation on power – and RH power in particular – at the expense of every other aspect of the game. The M’s have won three in a row for the first time since May by outslugging the slugging Orioles. The M’s right-handed sluggers like Nelson Cruz and Dae Ho Lee are a key reason why the M’s find themselves over .500. The M’s defense still isn’t great, and they still can’t run the bases very well, but instead of getting pitiful performance from every right-handed complementary player (Trumbo), they’re getting actual production from the odd-couple of Guti and Lee. This isn’t a complaint, mind you, but it and Trumbo’s resurgence with the O’s, must be frustrating to Zduriencik.

Ubaldo Jimenez fascinates me. His Fangraphs page defies explanation and sabermetric ideas. There’s volatility, and then there’s whatever Jimenez is doing. Since 2010, his ERAs have been: 2.68, 4.68, 5.40, 3.30, 4.81, 4.11 and now 6.63. A tremendously lucky (or unlucky?) player? I don’t know, because his FIP (and xFIP) follows the same lack-of-pattern. I can’t tell if his bizarre career is the product of too much luck or too little. Sabermetric analysis of pitchers has centered on the concept of true talent, a lodestar around which results orbit, pushed from the center by luck, variance, park effects, opposition strength, defense, etc. The idea of getting a glimpse of true talent by measuring these results is an attractive one, but Jimenez makes a mockery of it. Instead of these smooth arcs, resembling planetary orbits, Jimenez calls to mind someone trying and failing to control a massive machine that spinning out of control. Parts are flying off, there’s smoke billowing from the engine, but every now and again, it almost looks controlled. But whatever that big machine is doing, it’s pretty clearly not orbiting anything – the point around which it’s spinning is moving, too.

Jimenez has changed his pitch mix a few times, and he’s gained and lost velocity. Occasionally, he’s quite good against lefties, and at other times, he makes them look like a collective Mike Trout. There is nothing but variance. There’s no fixed point with Jimenez, there is only the struggle to figure out how to change next.

It helps that his mechanics look so odd. Some pitchers look fluid, like their arm and trunk make graceful arcs and circles in the course of delivering the baseball. Jimenez is all angles and thrusts at angles that go everywhere but towards the catcher’s mitt. When he’s going great, you can see that it might be tough to pick up the ball, and when he’s not, it seems like a gigantic waste of effort and source of potential error.

1: Martin, CF
2: Smith, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Cruz, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Lind, 1B
7: Gutierrez, RF
8: Iannetta, C
9: Marte, SS
SP: Iwakuma


21 Responses to “Game 82, Orioles at Mariners”

  1. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 1:28 pm

    Kuma’s delivery seems a tad unusual; but man, Marc’s description of Jimenez’s delivery wasn’t hyperbolic at all. It’s like his various limbs are in disagreement regarding which way they should go.

  2. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 1:40 pm

    Good grief, Toronto just hammered Cleveland 17-1.

    Condor’s BABIP is, predictably, coming down; but so far his wRC+ is remaining high. Man, I miss that guy.

  3. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 1:57 pm


  4. Grayfox3d on July 3rd, 2016 2:00 pm

    Have my babies Seth Smith!!!

  5. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 2:11 pm

    Baltimore isn’t going to make it easy for Kuma, though. Although Martin blew a routine play, which didn’t help.

  6. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 2:25 pm

    Sheesh, Marte, pay attention to what’s going on ahead of you…

  7. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 2:26 pm

    Well, Jimenez just gave it back. Thanks dude!

  8. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 3:32 pm

    I am enjoying this offensive resurgence.

  9. Dennisss on July 3rd, 2016 3:41 pm

    Baltimore will glad to see the last of the Mariners.

  10. Dennisss on July 3rd, 2016 3:42 pm

    Calling for Benoit with a 5-run lead. Things change in a hurry in the bullpen.

  11. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 3:52 pm

    When Benoit comes in, I always find myself holding my breath.

    Or sighing a lot.

  12. leon0112 on July 3rd, 2016 3:57 pm

    Amazing amount of offense in this series. At Safeco.

  13. leon0112 on July 3rd, 2016 4:05 pm

    A 4 game sweep of Baltimore! Amazing.

  14. Westside guy on July 3rd, 2016 4:15 pm

    Woo hoo!

  15. Notfromboise on July 4th, 2016 2:46 am

    Forget Condor, It’s Trumbo on pace to hit 48 jacks. Talk about someone defying all conventional wisdom.

    Yay sweep! Lets hope the pitching comes around, we’re really hitting for once.

  16. Westside guy on July 4th, 2016 11:48 am

    I don’t see how Dallas Keuchel can stand having that beard while playing half his games in Houston Texas.

  17. Westside guy on July 4th, 2016 11:54 am

    Funnily enough, Michael Saunders is basically matching Mark Trumbo’s slugging numbers – .552 versus .556 – but with 50 extra points of OBP.

    But yeah, Trumbo seems to finally be reaching his potential. Jack Z is spinning in his … chair.

  18. Westside guy on July 4th, 2016 12:02 pm

    Jeff Sullivan wrote an interesting piece on Trumbo last month:

  19. Westside guy on July 4th, 2016 12:03 pm

    Hey, that was a nice catch by Nelson Cruz!

  20. Westside guy on July 4th, 2016 12:16 pm

    The shift worked!

  21. Grayfox3d on July 4th, 2016 12:29 pm

    Who the hell is McCullers!

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